10 Cheers to the Barbadian Prime Minister, God Save their New President and Long live the former Queen

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Britain's Prince Charles is joined by Barbados President Sandra Mason and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley as they prepare to depart from the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, held to mark the birth of a new republic in Barbados at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, Barbados, November 30, 2021. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS

By Arvel Grant, Political and current Affairs Analyst

(Read more of Arvel’s analytical pieces on arvelgrant.com and [email protected])

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As the Caribbean (cautiously) take its place in 2022, I have given much thought to the political and current affairs headliners of 2021, which could claim top spot. COVID (II) has taken its permanent place as an important backdrop to everything else (at least) for the foreseeable future. Barbados and its media-savvy Prime Minister deserve mention as a top contender because of: their snap elections after less than 4 years in office; and the removal of Queen Elizabeth (II) as Queen of Barbados.

I have always been skeptical of window-dressing maneuvers such as replacing a titular head of state (queen or king) with a similarly titular president as head of state. Last year, (to mark its 55th anniversary of independence, Barbados appeared to  do just that, making it, 1 of a few  countries in the  Caribbean civilization with the “courage” to do such a thing.

To her credit, when Ms. Mottley became Prime Minister, she said she would move Barbados from being a monarchy, to a republic and she did. Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister, Mrs. Simpson-Miller said she would, but she failed. The late Sir Lester Bird (and others) mused about it but failed.

God knows, if there was ever a time when some sort of political and constitutional window-dressing was needed, it was in the case of Barbados. Historians seem to suggest, that the island was used to hone the worst excesses of the British slave economy. So brutish and murderous was the life of Barbadian plantation slaves, that the average life span of a slave on the island was less than 20 years.

To add white insult to black injury, more recently, one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II and his wife, appeared to have told the world, that the British royal family harbours racist aggrandisements. So much so, that the young white  prince and his  mixed-race wife, may have   thought it best to place themselves in a kind of “royal exile ” an ocean and a continent away from the royal household. In the circumstances, imagery of a white head of the British royal household, presiding as Queen of the majority black Barbados, always appeared  repugnant and repudiative at best. Therefore,  the island  resorting to  the  latest round of constitutional window-dressing,  in the Caribbean civilization,  is (perhaps) understandable recoil.

Elizabeth (II) The former queen of Barbados,  is a quite resilient testimonial, to the survivability of British royalty, notwithstanding its suggested, racial and ethnic flaws. Her Majesty should be admired for taking and preserving such a strong centrist position on behalf of the modern royal household, with all  its   alleged  shortcomings in the direction of black and brown peoples. So, it was nice to see Prince Charles cheering on the Barbadians,  as they made another modest adjustment   in their constitutional set-up. People who are more centrist and (perhaps) left of centre, in their world view, may (cautiously) allow themselves,   to believe that British royalty may be better disposed  to embrace the kaleidoscope of skin colour, which ingratiates the range of human civilizations, when Prince Charles is King.

Back to our reality in the Caribbean – Barbados having removed Elizabeth (II)  as its Queen (albeit in a half-hearted way) is no excuse for the continued  pussy-footing (on again- off again) approach to bringing the decolonization process (in the Caribbean civilization) to an ethnically inclusive  and constitutionally independent conclusion. This kind of   creepy-crawly and duplicitous  approach (boldly celebrating political independence but afraid of constitutional liberation) is a disturbing affront to the dignity of a Caribbean people. So courageous and  gifted yet, lacking in  equally   courageous and gifted  constitutional leadership. Mental slavery will dissolve with time, when the constitutional trappings which help to hold it  in place, are taken down and consigned to the rarefied archives of history.

For what it is worth, it might  not cost a cent more (in real terms)  if a  single general elections is used to elect: President, Senate,  House of Representatives and Parish Development Commissioners. In such an instance, we should interpret the results proportionally to elect President,  Senate and Parish Commissioners. While continuing to  use the First Past the Post results to elect the House. In those days, our Caribbean State  Presidents and parliamentary senators will have their authority grounded in the will of the people. Elected  senators  will reflect  the proportion of votes received by their parties and not the current  inequitable numerical abstractions, concocted by the (long ago) architects of our imitation West Minster constitutions.

Tangentially, come January 19th, Will the Barbadian elector further consolidate an emerging  brand of  “parliamentary  dictatorship”? (A byproduct of our constitutional machinations) Or will the  people restore meaningful opposition politics to their honorable house?.

Walk good

Arvel Grant, Political and Current Affairs Analyst

Authorized for publication without changes or modifications- All rights reserved

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4 COMMENTS

    • Did you tell them what UPP candidate, SEAN BIRD, said about them and Rihanna? What do you make of his comments regarding the 3 women?

  1. Is Lovell in agreement with what his candidate said about the Barbados PM? Is that the position of the UPP?

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